Kommersant: Russians are buying up tons of gold bars

The Russians have dramatically increased their investment in gold bullion. The reason for the growth in demand was the abolition of taxes on the purchase and sale of the precious metal. Moreover, representatives of financial organizations note a surge in demand for large ingots - from 1 kg or more. Experts warn Russians against investing in gold, even against the background of tax incentives: it is very difficult to sell the metal, and its investment advantages are not obvious under the current circumstances. This was written by Kommersant, which interviewed the largest Russian banks that offer gold bars for purchase.

Growth in demand for bullion among retail customers was recorded in Sberbank, VTB, Rosselkhozbank (RSHB), MKB, Sovcombank, Promsvyazbank (PSB). Sberbank reported that in five months customers bought 10.9 tons of gold, VTB in mid-April reported that it was able to sell 2 tons of gold to customers (the bank did not provide more recent data), PSB sold gold bars over the past 4 months per 1 ton among the clients of the premium division of Private Banking. Other banks also told the publication about the increased interest in gold in recent months, but did not name specific data.

Bars of all sizes are in demand, from 1 g to 12.5 kg (400 ounces). A significant part fell on large ingots - from 1 kg and more, VTB admitted that they sold ingots even weighing 100 kg. The peak of demand for large bars, banks note, is passing, but for small ones it is still quite strong.

The sharp increase in interest in gold in banks is associated with tax incentives. Previously, when buying a bar from a bank, a customer had to pay 20% value added tax (VAT), and when selling a bar, the customer had to pay an additional 13% in case of profit on resale. The first tax authorities canceled in March, the second - in June. Now there is only one limiting factor for the market - the storage of ingots, for which Russian banks charge a fee. The authorities estimated the potential for domestic demand for gold at around 50 tons per year, or about 15% of the country's total gold production.

However, the investment prospects for ingots are not obvious for Russians, real profits can only be extracted from them in the event of a sharp collapse of the ruble, while the risks associated with storage are much greater - any visual flaw instantly reduces the cost of the ingot. At the same time, banks are ready to buy back gold at a significant discount, experts estimate "discounts" for such transactions in the region of 15-25% of the initial purchase price, which makes investments in bullion still doubtful.

The growth of domestic demand and tax breaks coincided with the crisis of the Russian gold mining industry, which, due to sanctions, lost its usual schemes and markets for its products. Companies are desperately asking the authorities for support, as gold miners are forced to accumulate gold and cannot sell it, the domestic market cannot absorb such volumes, and due to an excess supply, companies are forced to sell it at large discounts.

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